It can be a struggle as a gardener to find something that will do the job, while also being environmentally conscious. It is so important to protect pollinators in our gardens, but that is hard to match against pests destroying plants year after year. Frass may be the answer you have been looking for: a fertiliser, a pest repellent, all while being organic and protecting pollinators.
What is Frass?
Frass is a natural fertilser and bio-repellent, meaning it boosts plant growth and deters pests from eating your garden - without harming key pollinators. It is also Soil Association approved so is perfect for Organic gardening.
Frass is the by-product of farming Black soldier Flies. We feed our lovely larvae on food waste that would otherwise be headed to landfill, and when they are all grown up they are sold as a calcium rich feed for animals. What is left over is called frass. It is made of the skin casings and excrement from our larvae, which we then sterilise and refine into the easy to use powder we sell.
It is great for the environment because it is actively helping reduce landfill and food waste, which would otherwise be contributing to global warming. But also by choosing frass instead of other carbon-intensive or petrochemical fertilsers you avoid the pollution and environmental damage they cause. Frass is a sustainable choice and it always will be.
Frass as a fertiliser
Frass has every nutritional component a plant needs for healthy growth and is rich in carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Frass is uniquely good at fertlising plants in the long term due to its chemical breakdown:
- The skin casings in frass are made from chitin (14% of frass by weight), which is rich in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium - all key for growing plants. As they bind within chitin, nutrients are slowly released - not washed away by the rain.
Chitin also binds to soil nutrients essential for plant growth like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc, making them accessible to the plant.
- The breakdown of chitin also both stimulates and fertilises the microbiome of bacteria present in the soil. This results in unprecedented increases in carbon and nitrogen mineralisation, locking carbon into the soil and increasing nutrient availability for crops.
All natural biopesticide - keeping pests at bay
As chitin is also found in insects, plants mistake the high chitin content of frass as a warning of insect attack. This acts much likes a vaccination, up-regulating plant defences, making them stronger and less palatable to pests - like aphids, slugs and snails. These same mechanisms have effectiveness at reducing plant disease also, as chitin is also present in fungal pathogens like blights, rusts and mildews. The results of these defence mechanisms vary species to species but have been widely seen to include bushier growth, and earlier blooming and fruiting.
Frass is a great alternative to pesticides as it deters insect damage, while still supporting key pollinators, likes bees and butterflies.
Because frass does nothing but boost the natural immune system of your plant, it is both organic and completely natural. We believe that you do not need artificial pesticides - your plant already has everything it needs, all we do is give it a shove in the right direction.
To buy your own frass please click here.
For an application guide on how to use frass click here.
Frass is not only excellent as a home gardening aid but has been shown in trials to be commercially viable. For more information and an application guide for agricultural uses of frass, please click here.